Innovation Centre hosts 2016 Innovation Bursary Bootcamp
The University of Bath Innovation Centre recently hosted a lively startup Introduction to Innovation bootcamp for this year’s Innovation Bursary Scholars. Ventures being launched included a fleet of electronically assisted cargo bikes, a ‘fast fashion’ app, B2B data marketplaces, and innovations in solar panel arrays; and there was no shortage of ambition with one delegate already signing up first customers for a trial with the intention of launching in November.
The Innovation Bursary scheme was set up to support graduates with an innovative idea or invention with the potential for commercialisation. Funded by University of Bath alumni, the awards recognise that getting a new venture off the ground requires time and money – alongside the determination and enthusiasm of the founder – so the innovation bursary provides a crucial runway for these new founders as well as enabling access to invaluable business support and networks.
Since 2014 the Embleton Innovation Bursary, the Mark Farmer Innovation Bursary, the Geoff Herrington Innovation Bursary and the Jon Craton Innovation Bursary have allowed Engineering students to take ideas formulated in their final year project to the next stage.
This year the launch of the Foulathi Scholarship has enabled students from across campus to benefit from the scheme for the first time. Prof Gareth Jones, Dyson Chair of Mechanical Engineering was delighted that the extension of the scheme has given the opportunity for a total of 14 graduates to work across 9 new ventures in cross-departmental collaboration from the School of Management and Departments of Computer Science, Life Sciences, School of Management and Mechanical Engineering. He said;
“For the first time this year we have pulled together students from different faculties, which is really important as we need students with different skills to work together to make businesses that work. Bath has an immense wealth of talent and if we can get staff, students and alumni from across the faculties working together there is so much more that we can do.”
The Introduction to Innovation bootcamp was the first session to kick off the 6 to 12 month startup incubation programme provided by the award winning business support service at the Innovation Centre. The programme provides a disciplined entrepreneurial framework as well as one-to-one mentoring so that the scholars have the full support needed to evolve their ventures and bring their business concepts to fruition.
Siobain Hone, Graduate Enterprise Manager and one of the organisers of the bootcamp stressed the importance of a structured approach to launching a new business, as well as being able to introduce the graduates to local founders, mentors and university alumni who have successfully launched ventures and who have returned to inspire the next wave of entrepreneurs. She noted;
“Launching and running a business venture can be a daunting journey, especially for the first-time entrepreneur fresh out of university; but if you understand why and how businesses work ..or if not, why they have failed; it can save you a whole lot of time, stress, and money, and greatly improves your chances of success. This is why solid business support, access to experienced mentors and a place to work alongside other entrepreneurs can mean a world of difference to a new venture.”
After two days of workshops and animated interactive sessions which left the walls covered in luminous sticky notes and business model outlines, the launch of the programme was celebrated with a reception for students, mentors and donors. The delegates were challenged to present their ventures back to their peers and sponsors in a 1 minute ‘elevator pitch’. Ali Hadvizedeh, Deputy Head of Enterprise at the University of Bath welcomed the graduates and guests to the launch event and commented that;
“the quality of the ideas that we have seen coming through the bursary scheme is superb and it’s great to see graduates from different disciplines working together. For the past few years we have been championing a cross departmental and campus wide approach in supporting entrepreneurially aspired and capable graduates with good, scalable and investable ideas generated whilst studying at the University of Bath. We were thrilled to host the first of such event and proud to be engaged with these capable individuals and offer them support and help in making their ventures to become long-term sustainable business of future creating jobs and wealth at local, national and international levels.”
The delegates were certainly inspired by the workshops and advice;. Post-Doctoral researcher Dr Jonathan Storey was keen to thank the alumni community for providing the opportunity saying that;
“the David Embleton bursary that we were awarded has allowed us to further develop our company Configarray which specialises in building dynamic reconfigurable arrays to optimise solar energy in realtime based on environmental conditions… we would like to recommend any Bath student with a business idea to speak to the university, sign up to the bursary programme and come down to the Bath Innovation Centre – it’s a great opportunity and we have learnt so much!”
The team at the Innovation Centre will be giving regular updates about progress of all the entrepreneurs and many of them will be involved in Enterprise@Bath events throughout the year.
This year’s Innovation Scholars are:
– Dr Jonathan Storey & Jules Hammond: (Mech Eng) Phd/Researchers who have pioneered a way to optimise the output from solar panels and to store locally in battery arrays.
– Georgios Kalligeros: (Mech Eng) Graduate Inventor of a portable bicycle powerpack.
– Michal Rachowiecki: (Mech Eng) Graduate Inventor of a medical device to provide greater control/visualisation when performing surgery.
– Guy Barkley: (Mech Eng) Graduate Inventor of an electronically assisted cargo bike.
– Ashton Clapp: (Computer Science) Graduate innovator of B2B Data marketplace platform.
– Max Maybury / Rashmi Bhatt: (Computer Science / School of Management) Graduate innovators of automated B2B quote platform.
– Pranit Sajeevan (School of Management): Founder of a Marketplace for freelancers / domestic tasks in India.
– Katie Hallam (Biological Sciences) and Gracie Howie: Founders of a B2C ‘Fast fashion’ marketplace.
– Kapil Reddy (School of Management): Platform to matchmake MBA and business students with industrial/corporate placements.
– Leanne Yip: (Mech Eng) Inventor of a innovative joint system for loft furniture.
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